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Tuesday Tips – Preserving Your Gluten-Free Flours

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Preserve those pricey flours in the freezer.Did you know that flour can go bad? Whole grain flours are especially at risk, as they contain more natural oils and fats that can become rancid. And any flour is at risk of getting small bugs in it, as it is impossible to completely remove the insect eggs from the flour. Ew. You already know that it’s cheaper to buy flour in bulk, and if you’re making your own gluten-free flour mix, you’ll end up with several pounds each of a bunch of different flours. (I counted one time and discovered that I had eleven different kinds of flour in my house at one time. I may have an obsession with collecting gluten-free flours.) That’s a lot of flour to use up, and the likelihood of it going bad in my house is pretty high. It’s no savings to buy in bulk if you have to throw half of it away due to an invasion of pantry moths.

The quick tip for this Tuesday is to freeze your flours. Yes, our favorite kitchen tool here at Food Allergies on Ice is the solution once again! Keeping the flour very cold helps to keep the oils from becoming rancid, and keeps those tiny insect eggs from hatching. It’s also a dry, airtight space which helps the flour stay dry (obviously important!) and prevents bug invasions. (You know, in case the kids leave the back door open and a bunch of flies come in. Again.) Of course, you can use this trick to preserve gluten-containing flours as well.

One caveat to the freezer trick, though: make sure your flours come up to room temperature before baking with them or your recipes may not turn out as well. Here’s what I do: my bulk flours are in a box in the freezer. I pull out the box and mix up 2 kg of my All-Purpose GF flour mix at a time. That’s enough for a week or two of baking and it stays in an airtight container on my kitchen counter. The box of bulk flours is returned to the freezer for safe keeping until the next time.

Pretty simple, but this simple trick will help you save money and make tastier food. I call that a win!

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Homemade Gluten-Free Eggos

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We here at Food Allergies on Ice have a disagreement.  Yes, it’s true.  That conundrum that sweeps the nation has not overlooked even small-time bloggers.  In my professional development venues, I’ve heard rumblings about the divisive nature of this very serious issue.

Waffles

Waffles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pancakes or Waffles?

Belle loves her pancakes.  She has learned how to appease the Pancake Gods, she has written about the glories of stocking your freezer with pancakes, and she has even graciously given to us her treasured Pancake Recipe.  She swears by pancakes.

I like waffles.  They are easy to mix up, give me a chance to multitask and freeze well.  I make my waffles 4 at a time. Infinitely practical! I can turn them into ice cream cones, make them into “faffles” (waffle sandwich), cook the sweetness into them cut into sticks and have snacks for my toddler. Cooks up easier than pancakes on a busy morning. 4 cups of batter has me working on waffles for maybe 20 minutes. 4 cups of pancake batter has me tied to the stove-top for an hour.

My recipe for waffles is simple.  Unfortunately, it is not egg free.  In fact, I put extra eggs in for extra protein staying power for my kids.  Perhaps this is the dividing line between my sister and I…

Gluten-Free Waffles

  • 4 eggs (beaten)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup water, milk, or juice (be sure to reduce sugar, if you use juice)
  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (or use my Happy Accident Discovery
    )
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  1. Preheat waffle iron – cold irons are messy and don’t cook waffles!
  2. In small mixing bowl, mix wet ingredients
  3. Add dry ingredients and stir until fully mixed
  4. Pour batter on to a hot waffle iron.  I use about 1/2 cup of batter for a 4-waffle iron.
  5. Cook for about 3 minutes.
    (Know your iron!  Some irons don’t get as hot as others.  This recipe is pretty forgiving and it takes walking away and actually forgetting about the waffles entirely to burn them. Not that I’ve done that or anything…)
  6. Serve with your favorite toppings!

Which do you prefer? Pancakes or waffles?  Do you have a favorite topping or a unique way to use waffles?  Let us know!

Tuesday Tips – The Happy Accident Discovery

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#3 Flour & friends

#3 Flour & friends (Photo credit: mrlins)

I’ve had an interesting year, this year.  Major life changes, moving across the country and all that jazz.  At one point we were trying our best to live off what was left in the pantry, trying to make our food dollars stretch as far as they would.  I had heard of people using bean flour as a substitute in baking so I decided to experiment.

I didn’t have bean flour, but I did have dry beans.  I didn’t have a flour grinder, but I did have a blender.  I knew what consistency I was looking for in bread batter or for tortillas, and can easily reduce liquids.  So I soaked my beans, cooked them, and blended them to a puree.  My first experiment was in tortillas, and as my sister mentioned, they were flexible but gummy.  More experimentation was needed.  If you’re looking for flexible gluten free tortillas look here.

I continued my experimentation with bread and waffles.  I have discovered that with the new flour mix I could replace 1/4 of the flour in a recipe with pureed beans to achieve an amazing moist crumb without being too crumbly, and plenty of flexibility.  I also noticed that the bread had better rise with the added protein.

Along with the better texture, I love the added vitamins, minerals and protein that the beans give my baked goods.  My children seem to find the new addition more filling, and they do rave about the taste of the food (and they are pretty picky eaters!) so I am confident that this is a Happy Accident we will continue to use in our kitchen!

Anyone else have a Happy Accident to share?

Tortilla Dough = Pie Crust

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I know what you’re thinking – tortillas are not in the least related to pie crust. And you’re absolutely right. Except that I’ve discovered that my tortilla recipe works for a pie crust.

Gluten-free, vegan apple piePastry is just flour and shortening, mixed together with a little bit of water to turn it into dough. That’s pretty much the tortilla recipe I’ve been using. So, the other night I made tortillas using my usual method. My beans were semi-frozen, which kept the palm shortening cold, and the whole thing turned to pastry dough in my food processor. I was amazed. I rolled it out on some wax paper, put it in a pie plate, and baked it a little. Then I put apple pie filling in there, put another layer of pastry on top, and baked the whole thing.

For the sake of full disclosure, I did have to piece the crust together a bit, as it didn’t quite hold together well enough to move to the pie plate. Not pretty, but still tasty. After it was baked, it held together just fine.

I don’t know if it was just the cold beans, or if I used extra shortening this time, but this was much more like pastry than like tortilla. Just in time for Thanksgiving, too. Score!

gluten-free, corn-free baked pocket sandwichI’ve used the tortilla dough to make a allergy-free baked pocket sandwich before, too. Kind of on the order of a calzone. Now I’m wondering what else I can make with this basic dough. Any suggestions?

Friday Fab or Flop: Flexible Corn- and Gluten-Free Tortillas? Part 2

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Part 1 is here if you missed it.

Well, it’s been a busy week putting up garden produce. I’ve picked and/or processed green beans, tomatoes, broccoli, grapes, peaches and apples this week. So I haven’t been baking to say the least. We had enough gluten-free, corn-free tortillas from last week’s batch that I didn’t tinker with my recipe since my last post. Feel free to flog me with a virtual wet noodle.

To make up for it, I’m going to post the recipe as I’ve developed it so far. I have frozen these before, and they do just fine. Keep in mind this is a work in progress. If you tinker with it, I’d love to hear how it comes out for you!

Flexitillas (make sure you say this with a Mexican accent: flex-i-TEE-ya. Sombrero optional.)

1 Cup Tapioca Starch

1 Cup Cooked Beans (Navy beans are high in calcium and the right color)

1 Cup Almond Flour

Flexitillas

Tortilla dough

1 Tbsp Sugar

1 Tsp Salt

Put the ingredients in the food processor and run the machine until it purrs. (What, yours doesn’t purr? Ok, then just process until smooth. And then buy a cat.) Add some palm shortening – about 1/3 cup – and process again. You’re looking for it to turn into coarse crumbles. Add some water into the spout part of the food processor while processing and stop when the mixture starts to form dough.

Flexitillas on the Griddle

These toast up nicely!

Cook as usual by pressing out balls of dough in a tortilla press and toasting on a medium-high griddle.

Friday Fab or Flop: Flexible Corn- and Gluten-Free Tortillas? Part 1

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The Search for the Perfect Tortilla

If you’re looking for Part 2, click here.

So, the Hubby likes Mexican food. It probably has something to do with growing up in a border state where there is a Mexican restaurant on every corner. It’s pretty much his favorite cuisine. And it’s pretty much the hardest to duplicate in an allergen-free environment.  It’s easy enough to make your own taco seasoning to season your own meat or beans however you prefer. There are a million ways to make salsa to avoid whatever you’re allergic to. But tortillas! Ay! You can’t eat Mexican cuisine without tortillas, and as far as I can tell, there are no tortillas commercially available that are free of both corn and gluten. The ones that come the closest are made from rice, so that’s no good for me, either.

I’ve been using Jaye’s tortilla recipe for several years now, and it’s a good start. The tortillas bend a little, as long as you don’t overcook them. I’ve fiddled with the recipe, changing the proportions of flour, fat and water, and every time I get a pretty similar result. It’s tasty food, just not exactly what I was hoping for in the flexibility department.

Over the summer, Jaye had a tortilla accident. You know the kind. It’s what happens when you run out of food and payday isn’t until next week. You start throwing together random things from the pantry, hoping that food will result. Fortunately, this was a happy tortilla accident (as opposed to the unhappy kind that involves blood and property damage). Tapioca starch and cooked beans, blended together as a flour base for tortillas made a VERY flexible tortilla. However, I’m not gonna lie. It was gummy. Not so bad as trying to eat oobleck, just not the sort of thing I’d make again on purpose, if you know what I mean.

So now I’m tinkering with tortillas again. I’ve tried it with almond flour (using up what I had on hand before we discovered the nut allergy), and it seems to be working. But I need the recipe to be nut-free, since my bigger boy is anaphylactic to several nuts.

Will my experiments be fab? Or another in a long line of tortilla flops? Tune in next week for the result!

25 Ideas for Allergy-Safe Snacks at School

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My oldest starts his second year of preschool this week. I never thought I’d be the type to send my kid off to school at such a tender age, but he attends a school for kids with developmental delays, and it’s been awesome for him. Of course, as with every activity we do with him, having multiple food allergies and anaphylaxis is a huge issue. Thankfully, the school is already tree nut and peanut-free, however, I still need to prepare all his school snacks myself to keep him safe. Of course, I want to make his snacks be like what the rest of the class is having. On the other hand, I don’t have time to try to prepare homemade gluten-free, dairy-free fishy crackers every week. It’s a balancing act, to be sure.

My son’s classroom has a microwave and a refrigerator, so we have a little more flexibility in what we can send. Also, they sometimes prepare hot food, like when they study the letter Q and make quesadillas for all the kids.  That said, here are my 25 best ideas for preschool snacks for the food allergic child, all as allergen-free and simple as possible.

  1. Pureed fruit-in-a-pouch (such as Buddy Fruit, Go-Go Squeez Applesauce, and Plum Baby)
  2. Fruit canned in juice
  3. Orange slices
  4. Apple slices with sunflower seed butter
  5. Banana
  6. Knox Gelatin made with fruit juice
  7. Carrots/celery, dipped in “ranch” dressing
  8. Ants on a Log
  9. Rice crackers (I can find savory crackers at my local Walmart)
  10. Cereal and non-dairy milk
  11. Trail mix (dried fruit, seeds, cereal)
  12. Non-dairy yogurt
  13. Rice cakes (top with jelly, sunbutter, honey, coconut oil, cinnamon sugar, etc.)
  14. Pretzels (Mary’s Gone Crackers makes some we can eat)
  15. Potato chips (it’s quick and easy to pack, if not the healthiest option)
  16. Super Cookies (http://www.goraw.com/products/Original_Super_Cookies)
  17. Homemade cookies
  18. Homemade muffins
  19. Gluten-Free Bread and Sunbutter sandwiches (last year we cut the bread into the shape of the letter of the week!)
  20. Pancakes
  21. Tortillas/Quesadillas with non-dairy cheeze
  22. Noodles in broth (aka Ramen Noodles)
  23. Gluten -free macaroni & Cheeze sauce
  24. Pudding (coconut cream, cocoa powder and honey, mix to taste)
  25. Homemade “puppy chow”

We also send some lollipops that the teacher keeps for treats.

I’m always looking for new ideas, so feel free to comment on your allergen-free, lunchbox-worthy snack idea!

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